|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from My Antonia by Willa Cather:
Grandmother motioned me to the dining-room. I obeyed reluctantly.
I watched her as she came and went, carrying dishes.
Her lips were tightly compressed and she kept whispering to herself:
`Oh, dear Saviour!' `Lord, Thou knowest!'
Presently grandfather came in and spoke to me: `Jimmy, we will not
have prayers this morning, because we have a great deal to do.
Old Mr. Shimerda is dead, and his family are in great distress.
Ambrosch came over here in the middle of the night, and Jake and Otto
went back with him. The boys have had a hard night, and you must not
bother them with questions. That is Ambrosch, asleep on the bench.
Come in to breakfast, boys.'
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Sophist by Plato:
And they also speak of carding, spinning, and the like. All these are
processes of division; and of division there are two kinds,--one in which
like is divided from like, and another in which the good is separated from
the bad. The latter of the two is termed purification; and again, of
purification, there are two sorts,--of animate bodies (which may be
internal or external), and of inanimate. Medicine and gymnastic are the
internal purifications of the animate, and bathing the external; and of the
inanimate, fulling and cleaning and other humble processes, some of which
have ludicrous names. Not that dialectic is a respecter of names or
persons, or a despiser of humble occupations; nor does she think much of
the greater or less benefits conferred by them. For her aim is knowledge;
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Lucile by Owen Meredith:
"No, Alfred! the very same, no," she replied.
Her voice shook. "If you love me, obey me. Abide
My answer to-morrow."
Alas, Cousin Jack!
You Cassandra in breeches and boots! turn your back
To the ruins of Troy. Prophet, seek not for glory
Amongst thine own people.
I follow my story.
|The fourth excerpt represents the element of Earth. It speaks of physical influences and the impact of the unseen on the visible world, and is drawn from Moran of the Lady Letty by Frank Norris:
thrashing, clattering, and blowing like the exhaust of a donkey-
engine, tumbled the great green turtle, his wet, green shield of
shell three feet from edge to edge, the gaff firmly transfixed in
his body, just under the fore-flipper. From under his shell
protruded his snake-like head and neck, withered like that of an
old man. He was waving his head from side to side, the jaws
snapping like a snapped silk handkerchief. Kitchell thrust him
away with a paddle. The turtle craned his neck, and catching the
bit of wood in his jaw, bit it in two in a single grip.
"I tol' you so, I tol' you to stand clear his snapper. If that
had been your shin now, eh? Hello, what's that?"